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Dear Aunty Vic

Q:

During O-Week, some guys caused significant damage to someone's room, including smashing roof tiles. One of them, whom I went to high school with (not really close, but small-town dynamics mean everyone from the same school is connected), posted videos of them damaging the room on his private Snapchat. Now, someone has reported them to the RAs, and he's falsely accused me of being the informant because “I'm the only girl in the hall who can see his private stories”. As a result, I'm being labelled as a prude and a snitch by the entire “cool group” of guys, even though I didn't do anything. I feel like this stupid rumour is tarnishing my reputation and any chance of making friends. What should I do?


Advice:

Being thrown under the bus by some loser from high school in one of the most crucial time periods for developing friendships is nothing short of infuriating. Making friends in the first year is stressful enough, and unfortunately, reputation does matter.


I’m going to be real; this person sounds violent, disrespectful, and unable to own up to their own actions. Any person who is thick enough to flex such character traits within the first week of living in a building of well over a hundred others will dig their own grave in a matter of months.


This person is evidently insecure in their friendships and does not have a strong standing in the friend group yet. Hence why they did not own up to their actions. There was a fear that they’ll be kicked out. They needed a scapegoat to ensure they retained their social footing, and unfortunately, you were it.


The truth is, this incident will be completely insignificant within 10 days. Not only will you forget about it, everyone else will too.


However, until that happens, I would suggest taking the high road. Keep your head held high. If you did nothing wrong, assert that in an honest and empathetic manner. Here’s an example: 


“I heard you snitched on Brad and his mates last weekend”. 

“Ha, nah, can’t say I did! The guy threw himself under the bus; he just used me as a scapegoat for being caught out. He literally posted him and his mates smashing up that kid's room online? What did he expect?” 

“Oh true…” 

“Yeah, I think he’s pretty desperate to maintain a footing in that new friend group. Hope he’s doing okay”.


Done, leave it at that. You come across as kind, yet self-assured while demonstrating emotional intelligence by seeing through the scapegoating. In the meantime, avoid such people. Find those who lift you up, and be the kindest person in the room. Remember people’s names. Introduce yourself to the person who has nobody to talk to. Rumours may knock your reputation, but it is your everyday actions that create the strong foundation of it. If you have a strong foundation, it’ll stay standing—even if some loser from high school tries to throw it under the bus.



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